ON MY JOURNEY NOW

LOOKING AT AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY THROUGH THE SPIRITUALS

Giovanni’s slim, personal exploration of the historical underpinnings of the spirituals presents a unique perspective on a topic rarely examined in young-adult literature. Quoting liberally from 47 songs, Giovanni focuses on the triumph over extreme adversity inherent in both the lyrics and the African-American experience itself. She frequently supplants the noun “slaves” with “the enslaved,” honoring the intact humanity of the uprooted Africans. Focusing on the dignity of work and the unity and communication achieved through song, Giovanni ponders both daily and psychic life under and after slavery, in chapters such as “Escape,” “Sunday,” and “The Fisk Jubilee Singers.” She adopts a conversational, free-associative style that should engage teens jaded by dry textbook prose. She opines plenty, too, defending hip-hop, railing against the religious right’s usurpation of the Bible and maintaining that America’s longstanding grudge against Haiti dates from its role as a haven for slaves escaping the Deep South. Contrasting with the expressive narrative, appended information attests to Giovanni’s scholarly chops. An important work to handsell, booktalk and embrace. (foreword, lyrics, biographical notes, bibliography/source notes, recommended recordings, indexes) (Nonfiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2007

ISBN: 0-7636-2885-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style....

GRAMMAR GIRL PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE WRITING GUIDE FOR STUDENTS

As she does in previous volumes—Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (2008) and The Grammar Devotional (2009)—Fogarty affects an earnest and upbeat tone to dissuade those who think a grammar book has to be “annoying, boring, and confusing” and takes on the role of “grammar guide, intent on demystifying grammar.”

Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style. Fogarty works hard to find amusing, even cheeky examples to illustrate the many faux pas she discusses: "Squiggly presumed that Grammar Girl would flinch when she saw the word misspelled as alot." Young readers may well look beyond the cheery tone and friendly cover, though, and find a 300+-page text that looks suspiciously schoolish and isn't really that different from the grammar texts they have known for years (and from which they have still not learned a lot of grammar). As William Strunk said in his introduction to the first edition of the little The Elements of Style, the most useful grammar guide concentrates attention “on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.” After that, “Students profit most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work.” By being exhaustive, Fogarty may well have created just the kind of volume she hoped to avoid.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8943-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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